May 21, 2016
City Of Richardson
By Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano
WildFlower! Festival: A Night Of Classics And Covers
It was a night of classic rock in Richardson, Texas when Peter Frampton, Dennis DeYoung and John Waite rocked the 24th annual WildFlower! Festival. The three day festival also featured music from fellow headliners Survivor, The Guess Who, Hoobastank. Finger Eleven, Soul Asylum, The Toadies and Jimmy Vaughn. Besides the two main festival stages, there were smaller stages filled with local artists, singer/songwriters and tribute bands. There was plenty of great food to try, arts and crafts for sale and a huge play area for the little kids.
John Waite kicked off the show with a nice career retrospective that covered his time as front man for The Babys and Bad English as well as his own solo career. The set opened appropriately enough with the song "Saturday Night," followed by the crowd pleasers "Change" and The Babys' "Midnight Rendezvous." Other favorites included Bad English's "When I See You Smile" and "Best of What I Got." The Babys' "Back On My Feet Again" and "Head First" and Waite's number one hit, "Missing You." In a nice surprise, Waite ended the show with a great cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."
Next up was a show stealing performance by Dennis DeYoung and The Music of Styx. If you closed your eyes you would have thought you had travelled back in time to the late 70s/early 80s and were seeing Styx in their prime. That's how amazing DeYoung still sounds. When you open your eyes back up, you may have to rub them a little and look twice because Dennis found himself a pair of guitarists that not only do the material justice but actually resemble a young Tommy Shaw and James Young. August Zadra, the Tommy Shaw look alike even does a great job singing "Blue Collar Man," "Too Much Time On My Hands" and "Renegade."
But DeYoung was the man the fans came to hear sing and he did not disappoint. Dennis is a master showman and entertainer who held the crowd in the palm of his hand. He happily belted out classic after classic including "The Grand Illusion," "Lady," "Rockin' The Paradise," "Babe," "The Best of Times" and show closer, "Come Sail Away." But by far the biggest highlight was hearing him do "Suite Madam Blue," and still hit that big high note and carry it for an impossibly long time. The song is a masterpiece. If you're a Styx fan and you get a chance to see Dennis DeYoung live - do it!
Guitar God and 70s icon Peter Frampton closed the show with a set full of surprises. Sure, you got all the expected big hits, "Show Me The Way," "Baby I Love Your Way" and "Do You Feel Like I Do." But who would have expected a killer cover of the late David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel"? Or a jaw dropping instrumental cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"? Frampton even ended the night with an amazing version of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." All through the set he never stopped smiling or shredding.
WildFlower! Festival is always a great time. Can not wait to see who will play next year's 25th anniversary edition.
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